Am I eligible?
Eligibility is determined each semester by showing verification of county cash aid. County cash aid verification must reflect that both the student and an eligible child under the age of 18 are receiving cash aid and must be dated by county representatives in the month in which college CalWORKs services are requested.
What else is required for eligibility?
- Students must be enrolled at Sacramento City College, West Sacramento Center or Davis Center in order to receive services.
- Students must maintain good academic standing.
- Students must select a county approved occupation.
- Students cannot change their occupation choice without the county’s approval.
- Students must fulfill their county weekly hourly obligation.
What is my county weekly hourly obligation?
|Number of Adults in the Family (Assistance Unit)||County Weekly Hours of Participation|
|Single-adult with a child under 6 years old||20|
|Single-adult with no children under 6 years old||30|
CalWORKs Student Eligibility Definitions
- Self-Initiated Participant
- This designation applies if the student is a TANF/cash aid recipient, has at least one eligible child and is attending the community college as a Self-Initiated Program Participant (SIP) and is or will be in the process of obtaining an approved Welfare-to-Work plan through their county welfare office. Refer to the California Department of Social Services All County Letter 99-32 for additional information on SIP criteria.
- Voluntary Exempt
- This designation applies if the student is a TANF/cash aid recipient, has at least one eligible child but has been exempted from participating in WTW activities by the county for a reason enumerated with an All County Letter or All County Information Notice.
- Exempt Student (other)
- This designation applies if the student is a TANF/cash aid recipient, has at least one eligible child but has been exempted from participating in WTW activities. The college must have documentation in the student’s file proving the student’s exempt status and when the exemption will expire.
- Post-Employment Participant
- This designation applies if the student is off cash assistance due to unsubsidized employment and is in compliance with their county welfare office. This would be a former TANF recipient, who has completed their Welfare to Work plan or SIP-Self-Initiated Program and is employed but desires additional training. A student in this status cannot be one that is sanctioned by the county welfare office for not adhering to their Welfare to Work plan. The college must verify student employment at the beginning of each term.
Click on the links to learn about our services.
Downloadable WTW Forms
Academic, career and personal counseling services are available to all CalWORKs students. Counselors develop an Individual Student Education Plan to help you meet your educational goals. All CalWORKs students are required to meet with a CalWORKs counselor a minimum of once per semester to guide you through your educational journey. In doing so, they also ensure that college and county requirements are met so that there is no interruption in your county cash aid.
CalWORKs Case Management Services
CalWORKs Case Management Services are here to serve you! We want you to succeed!
So that you will fulfill your Welfare-to-Work requirements, the SCC CalWORKs program provides case management to help you navigate through all of your responsibilities and ensure academic success.
CalWORKs Case Managers provide help with:
- Understanding county documents
- Attendance verification & Book/Materials verification signatures
- School Supplies (when funds allow)
- CalWORKs Work Study Program information and job opportunities
- on campus resources and referrals
- and more
Legal Services of Northern California Fact Sheets
- But It’s Unfair! Tips on Overpayments
- CalWORKs Time Limits on Aid
- Caring For Your Relative’s Children: Public Benefits Summary
- Disability Rights: Getting the Help You Deserve
- Getting Help in Your Language
- Representing Yourself at a State Hearing: Tips to Succeed
- Rights of Domestic Violence Survivors
- Support Services – Getting What You Need in the Welfare-to-Work Program
- Welfare-to-Work: How It Works
Voluntary Legal Services Program (VLSP)
Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC)
517 12th Street
Voice: (916) 551-2102
Fax: (916) 551-2120
1. Can I receive welfare and still go to college or receive vocational training.
Yes. CalWORKs, the welfare-to-work program which replaced AFDC, allows you to seek an education that will help you secure a career. There are certain time limits and other rules, but you can go to school.
No. But if you cannot get your course of study approved as a SIP, after you have been attending school for one year, you must comply with the required 20 hours of work activities, and the remaining 12 required hours may be education leading to employment (must be approved by your County Case Manager).
If you are already in school before you apply for cash aid (CalWORKs), you are a Self-Initiated Program (SIP) participant. If you are SIP, you have a right to remain in school. The County must approve your course of study.
An “approvable” SIP is one where:
- you will earn a degree or certificate, and
- you are making “satisfactory progress,” and
- your program “leads to employment.”
If you already have a four-year college degree, you can only be in a SIP if you are studying to earn a teaching credential.
Each county decides what satisfactory progress is. The County’s policy must be in writing. In general, satisfactory progress is defined by the educational institution you are attending (you are receiving passing grades in your classes) and making progress toward your degree or certificate.
A SIP’s course of study leads to employment if it is on the list of education and training programs the County and community colleges develop each year. Ask your County Case Manager or the college for a copy of this list.
If your course of study (major) is not on the County’s list, they must give you an opportunity to demonstrate that the program will lead to employment. The County must give you clear written instructions on how to accomplish this. Ask your college CalWORKs Counselor for help. Job announcements, statistics from EDD (Employment Development Department) and statements from employers can be used to show your course of study will lead to employment. If the County denies your SIP, ask to change to a SIP that can be approved. If the County refuses, or if you don’t want to change, ask for a State Hearing.
You have the right to request a hearing if you disagree with any decision made by the County. You have only 90 days to request a hearing. The 90 days starts the day after the County gave or mailed you a Notice of Action. In order to request a Hearing, you can use the Hearing Form located on the back of correspondence from the County, or you can contact the State at (800) 952-5253. If you request a Hearing prior to being sanctioned, your aid and supportive services (child care, transportation, etc.) will not be cut while you are waiting for a decision.
No. State regulations require that the County give students a written notice if a SIP is denied. Insist on a written notice, and request a state hearing if you disagree. You can request a hearing even if the County refuses to give you a written notice.
No. However you will need to complete a Welfare-to-Work Form, in which you state that you do not want to use your financial aid to cover your childcare and other school-related expenses.
Yes. Most college loans, grants and work study are “excluded income.” That means your cash aid should not be reduced because you receive financial aid.
No. Families receiving CalWORKs are allowed to own personal computers even if they are not used for school.
Some students are required to work. This will depend on your WTW Plan Activity Assignment that you completed with your county case worker. Some exemptions also exist. Contact your county case worker for a copy of your Plan and work with the SCC CalWORKs Case Manager and or SCC CalWORKs Job Developer to implement the plan should you need to fulfill work hours.
It depends on your circumstances. All SIPs have to fulfill the required 32 hours per week in an approved activity, which includes class lecture and lab, on-campus supervised study labs, internship programs, work study, work or other welfare-to-work activities. If these activities don’t add up to 32 hours, you will have to participate in additional activities. A part-time job would qualify. If you don’t have a job, the County can assign you to other welfare-to-work activities, such as, job search or additional education or training. But the County must count all your school, lab, supervised study lab and internship hours before deciding how many other hours you can be assigned to additional activities. The additional activities cannot interfere with your SIP.
Yes, on-campus supervised study lab hours do count towards your weekly activity requirements. Your college CalWORKs counselor will inform you as to how many study hours are allowed, which does depend on your class schedule.
Yes. The County must count work-study toward either a SIP’s or Vocational Training Referral student’s 32 hours. If your County case manager has informed you that work study doesn’t count, please inform your college CalWORKs counselor immediately.
No, as long as the money you earn is from CalWORKs Work Study funds or Federal Work Study funds, it does not count against your cash aid or food stamps.
If you have been diagnosed with a learning disability, the additional time you need counts toward your 32 hours. These hours may also count toward the 20-core hour requirement.
No. Any course that counts toward your degree or certificate must be counted toward your 32 hours.
Yes. State law says your SIP can be approved if you are enrolled. You don’t have to be actually attending classes yet if school hasn’t started, as long as you have already been accepted at your school prior to your CalWORKs Appraisal.
Your SIP can count toward your required CalWORKs hours until you complete your SIP or up until your reach your month time limit on CalWORKs.
No. State law says that even if your SIP isn’t approved, you can stay in school until the end of the quarter or semester you are currently in. The County must pay for childcare, transportation and other supportive services you need during that time. At the end of quarter or semester you have the right to transfer to an approvable SIP.
With the understanding that you remain in compliance with your 32 hour weekly activity requirement, you are entitled to receive child care, transportation (bus pass or mileage reimbursement to and from approved CalWORKs activities) and books.
With regard to child care the County must pay for child care for your children 10 years old and younger, and for 11 & 12 year-olds if funding is available. You can also get child care for your older children who have special needs. Child care is available:
- While you are in education, training or any other activity as part of your welfare-to-work plan, or
- While finishing the quarter or semester in a SIP which cannot be approved, or
- If you need it as “post-employment” services.
Yes, as long as she is enrolled in school prior to her CalWORKs Appraisal.
No. You can refuse to accept a job or participate in other activities that would interfere with school.
Yes, if you had a “good cause” for quitting. Good cause includes lack of childcare, domestic violence, illness or a family crisis.
During school breaks of more than a week, the County can assign you to other activities. The County can’t require you to do anything that interferes with your approved SIP or Vocational Training. If the County sends you to Job Search, for example, you don’t have to accept a job that would interfere with school.
You have the right to ask for a change within three days of signing a plan. Call your County Case Manager if you signed within the last three days. If more than three days have passed, ask for a hearing.
Maybe. If you already have a job and you still receive CalWORKs you may get education as part of your welfare-to-work plan. You need to inform your County Case Manager that you want to go to school. They may send you to an Assessment, which includes two days of educational and vocational testing. Based on the recommendations of the Assessment Report, you may be allowed to participate in school as part of your Welfare-to-Work Plan.
You may also qualify for up to one year of “post-employment” services after you close your CalWORKs case due to employment. Post-employment services include the following:
- Child care (for 12 months after your case closes and you remain employed),
- Transportation (bus pass or mileage reimbursement).
No. Only the parent’s portion of the CalWORKs cash aid grant is cut if the parent does not comply with the required welfare-to-work activity hours. In addition, you will also lose other CalWORKs supportive services, which includes child care, bus pass or mileage reimbursement and books. Everyone in the family should still receive Medi-Cal and Food Stamps.
There are several steps in the sanction process. The county must send you a Notice of Action, informing you that you failed to participate in your assigned activity. The letter will give you an appointment time to meet with your County Case Manager, in order to discuss why you did not comply.
- If you ignore the letter, your aid will be reduced on the date mentioned in the letter, unless you ask for a State Hearing before the date the reduction is to happen.
- If you decide to be sanctioned, at any time during your sanction, you can contact your County Case Manager and inform them that you want to comply so the sanction can be lifted. Prior to July 12, 2006, there used to be a waiting period before a sanction could be lifted. This regulation was amended with ACL #06-27.
Many important information about SIPs, Vocational Training Referrals, and learning disabilities are in All County Letters (ACL’s) posted on the State Department of Social Services website. For SIP rules: see ACL’s 99-32 and 99-38. For core/non-core work requirement: see ACL 04-41. For learning disabilities: ACL 01-70.
Also contact LIFETIME (Low-Income Families’ Empowerment through Education). LIFETIME is a non-profit organization created by student mothers at UC Berkeley who completed college degrees while raising their families on welfare, and is committed to empowering low-income parents to achieve their educational and career goals.